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What kind of drug to use?

Discussion in 'Research' started by Rosemary Tea, Feb 22, 2021.

  1. Rosemary Tea

    Rosemary Tea Sage

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    Poor Johnny the deputy mayor. His dear wife, Molly, is frequently ill, and no one can figure out why. She's been this way for years. Strange fatigue, drowsiness at odd times, bizarre behavior, seeing things that aren't there, not knowing where she is, and maybe five years ago or so, she developed agoraphobia and will hardly ever leave the house. When he can persuade her to get out for a little, she can only stand it for a short time, and then she insists on going home. But Johnny, bless his heart, keeps right on taking care of her, and insists it's not really the terrible burden that everyone knows it is.

    They have no children. Barren, apparently, poor dears. No close relatives in town, either. Both of them came from elsewhere, but that's another story.

    It's a close knit village, everyone knows everything about everyone, more or less, although there's also a decent amount of travel, people moving out of one town and into another, so it's not like you have to be a fifth generation resident from your cradle to your grave to be accepted. So it's not unrealistic that Johnny, a relative newcomer, could become deputy mayor, and everyone knows what the situation is with his wife. There are several competent healers in town, and they've all offered their help, but she's only willing to see one, Pamela. Who keeps everything that happens between herself and her patient, and everything she might witness in that home, completely confidential, because healer's code of ethics.

    Pamela gives her patient some drugs. Modern medicine and modern chemistry labs don't exist, so none of the synthetic drugs we know are possibilities, but herbs certainly are (real world plants only, I'm not making any up or giving any plant properties it doesn't actually have, in folklore or in reality). Made up substances are also a possibility, but they should be substances that roughly match what actual drugs can do.

    But the whole thing is really a horrific scheme. Johnny may appear to be an upstanding citizen, but behind closed doors, he's an abuser. He gaslights Molly, tortures her sometimes (carefully leaving no visible scars), does the awful things an abusive husband would do, but no one knows. Except Pamela, who's no less sadistic than Johnny. It was her idea, years ago when Molly genuinely did fall ill, to keep Molly drugged into a semblance of chronic illness. And that's what they've done, all this time, making Molly think she was getting medicine to help her.

    Molly eventually realizes they're drugging her into illness, manages to evade swallowing the drugs for a while until she's lucid enough for long enough to escape, and then she escapes and tells the tale, to the one person around who is both willing to consider the possibility that Johnny isn't such a good guy and powerful enough to do something about it, but that's another story.

    What I'm looking for is what kind of drug they might be giving Molly, that would cause those kinds of symptoms. Some of the effects might be psychological, from being isolated and abused, but the way I have it mapped out, the drug would be causing the most debilitating symptoms, that keep her too out of it and too weak physically to try it. Without the drug, she can find the strength and the wherewithal to escape.
     
  2. Insolent Lad

    Insolent Lad Maester

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    The lotus might be a possibility, both the blue and white water lilies, which can be a mild hallucinogenic as well as mimicking some of the effects of morphine. It can also cause convulsions and difficulty keeping food down.
     
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  3. Rosemary Tea

    Rosemary Tea Sage

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    Love that idea! It works very well with the gestalt of my world building in this story, too. Plants with magical properties (as lotus seems to have) fit into it well, and I'm committed to sticking with actual plants and their actual uses, current or historical, in folk magic and herbalism. Initially I'd thought of the Pamela character as a midwife, and it looks like one of blue lotus's uses is as a remedy for excessive menstrual cramps and bleeding. That could be the original problem she treated Molly for.

    I just went down the rabbit hole reading up on blue and white lotus flowers. Looks like they're considered dangerous enough for the FDA to say not for human consumption, but still safe enough that they get marketed as teas and tinctures anyway. A few sites are selling lotus tea and saying this stuff's safe, no serious side effects, but don't mix it with other drugs. I suppose a too high dose, or too strong tea, would cause the real problems, and maybe mixing in certain other herbs.
     
  4. MiaC

    MiaC Dreamer

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    Some type of hallucinogen, definitely. Peyote?
     
  5. Rosemary Tea

    Rosemary Tea Sage

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    For this purpose, a milder hallucinogen would work better. Peyote is anything but mild. It's also a kind of drug that, in a non-industrialized world, which this is, would not be available outside the bioregions it grows in, and its range is very limited: it's only found in the Mojave and Sonoran deserts, and it cannot be cultivated, only harvested wild. My setting isn't a desert climate at all.

    I've written the story using blue lotus. My setting isn't quite the right climate for blue lotus either, but does have some trade with places that could support it. Lotus can be cultivated and has a much wider climate range that it will grow in, so it's more feasible.
     
  6. Mad Swede

    Mad Swede Sage

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    You could consider St Johns Wort. henbane, acacia, fig-marigolds (you may know them as ice plants or carpet weeds) or maybe knotweed.
     
  7. Rosemary Tea

    Rosemary Tea Sage

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    St. John's wort can cause or exacerbate mania, in high doses, but would it have the effects I'm going for?

    Ice plant is edible, but poisonous in large quantities. Also wouldn't be available in the bioregion, it being landlocked.

    Henbane might work, but would it have the right effect? Need to read more about it.
     
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